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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five star classic. But....
Peter Gabriel's So was the second album I ever bought. I wore the tape out so much it had a constant drumming noise each time I played it. Released 25 years ago it was the first of his albums that wasn't eponymous (at his record company's insistence). It propelled him into the limelight. Before he had a few hits, but this was a real breakthrough, due to the innovative...
Published on 24 Oct 2012 by Syriat

versus
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super Deluxe edition just not worth the money
Okay, many of us love the album and not much needs to be said about it here if you're looking at the box set. The content in this set is disappointing and there is much duplication:

We get the main album twice: CD and vinyl. The massive book in the box states that In Your Eyes was moved to the beginning of side 2 originally as it would not cut satisfactorily...
Published 19 months ago by Mike the Fish


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super Deluxe edition just not worth the money, 17 April 2013
Okay, many of us love the album and not much needs to be said about it here if you're looking at the box set. The content in this set is disappointing and there is much duplication:

We get the main album twice: CD and vinyl. The massive book in the box states that In Your Eyes was moved to the beginning of side 2 originally as it would not cut satisfactorily at the end of a vinyl side, yet here it is cut at the end of a vinyl side in the box. The LP, by the way, was cut half speed and sounds excellent. It is very bassy, and some may prefer the bass lighter, more open sound of the 80s cut. The CD also sounds good, is not compressed to the eyeballs and is not overbright.

We get Live In Athens twice: spread across two CDs and on one DVD. The stereo mix is not great, the 5.1 mix is near pointless as it seems to be mainly ambience sent to the rears and what information is sent is very quiet. Also it appears that there has been some vocal overdubbing on In Your Eyes as the lip sync isn't great, and a note gets held even after PG has closed his mouth at one point.

The So DNA CD: this is of historical interest, but of limited listening pleasure. Each track (possibly aside from This Is The Picture) is a medley of different versions of the same track showing the changes from inception to nearly completion. What is interesting is just how much change there was in many of the tracks, and how much PG seemed to struggle to get the lyrics straight. While this is at times fascinating, I would probably have preferred complete alternative mixes from later on in the recording with parts that didn't make the final mix. We Do What We're Told contains a modern guess by PG at what was an early version, and then goes into a mix from the sessions.

Classic Albums DVD

Double A side 12" with two unreleased tracks (one containing part of what would become In Your Eyes) and a great alternate mix of Don't Give Up with backing vocals and more piano. Kate Bush is still present and it's the highlight of the whole set for me. My vinyl copy appears to be a bit clicky, but aside from that the tone is fantastic. This track should have been on the original 12" of Don't Give Up - it could have been a classic despite a really clunky edit near the beginning.

Hardback book 12" by 12" about half an inch thick - some insights into the making of the album, some contradictions to info in the Classic Albums DVD - and NO LYRICS!!! How can you make this large book, in a deluxe box set and not include the lyrics?!

The download is not for the whole set. Not even close. It is the album plus the tracks on the 12". Registering for the download gives a three month membership to a hi-res music club, and within this PART of the 1987 live in Athens set can be downloaded. The DNA stuff is omitted completely.

Listening to the set there is a palpable sense that better bonuses are missing: the 12" mixes, US mix(es) and the b-sides and other alternate mixes from the vaults.

This box set has the most repetition of material that I've obtained so far. It costs so much and is missing so much, particularly other material released but now out of print. It was so obvious, yet missed off for whatever reasons seemed to make sense to PG et al at the time. It was a bad call Peter.

Check out The Smile Sessions or the Achtung Baby deluxe sets to see how it should be done.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five star classic. But...., 24 Oct 2012
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Peter Gabriel's So was the second album I ever bought. I wore the tape out so much it had a constant drumming noise each time I played it. Released 25 years ago it was the first of his albums that wasn't eponymous (at his record company's insistence). It propelled him into the limelight. Before he had a few hits, but this was a real breakthrough, due to the innovative Sledgehammer video and the more mainstream sound of the album.

Taking the original album alone this is a five star product (with one minor quibble which I will get to). The songs are as good as ever and have been used for varying reasons since. Don't Give Up is as painful a listen as it was back then. It's a beautiful sound with point and counterpoint of Gabriel and Kate Bush expertly deployed. Sledgehammer is as good as ever and Mercy Street sounds cleaner and more haunting on this remaster. The world sensibilities of Gabriel were always somewhere in the mix and whilst he wasn't as overly political on this offering as previous ones (Biko, Games Without Frontiers) he used the influences well on tracks like In Your Eyes and the mood on Red Rain. Big Time is possibly the only track that has dated. It could only be a product of the 80's and whilst almost certainly a piece about the excesses it isn't the timeless single others are. Don't Give Up has as much to say about our austere times now as the time it was conceived. So to the quibble. In Your Eyes is a beautiful track and used to be the opener to side two (as was on my tape). Here it is the closing track. Quite why the tracks have been reordered I don't know and it could have done without it to be honest.

The extras are what really lets the side down. The booklet on this version contains no information other than lyrics and credits. The concert is the same one as on the POV video that was released. It isn't the strongest concert effort and won't stand the repeated play of other live recordings. The opening track is This Is The Picture and quite frankly it sounds a bit of a mess. Indeed the track starts like its being wound up to the crowd noise. Other tracks don't seem as strong and overall you are better off getting a different live concert than this one. My advice is get the single cd version. This is not worth the extra.

Peter Gabriel followed this with soundtracks, a cd of music for the millennium dome, an album of covers and only three studio albums of original material aside from those. All are worth checking out. However, listening to this makes you wish he were more prolific and his output was more original. As a single disk this is truly worth buying. The extras add nothing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Start here, 2 Dec 2008
By 
Julian Stevens (BRISTOL, UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: So (Audio CD)
This is the PG album that all his diehard fans seem to have scoffed at as a sell out to commercialism (as did all the diehard Pink Floyd fans at DSOM when that came out). For me, though, as someone who finds much of his other work somewhat indigestible or simply inferior, none of that matters at all. This is, without question, a great album in just about every respect, not just the songs but the recording and the performances (from a host of notable studio musicians) and the way it all hangs together quite superbly. So what if Sledgehammer is a bit on the commercial side? It rocks! Apparently, it took a year to record (at his own studio in Box, a few miles east of Bath) and to finalise the mixing and mastering.

The digitally remastered edition improves just a bit on the original CD issue, which was pretty good to begin with, though the track order has been (slightly) rearranged, as compromises had to be made to the original track order due to the limitations of vinyl. If you want to hear the album as issued originally, the track order is 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 5, 6 and 7. Track 8 is a bonus cut, not on the vinyl, so stick it where you like (my preference is at the end).
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Peter Gabriel - So So, 22 Oct 2012
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Let us begin accentuating the positives since having "So" all polished and spruced up in a remaster after 25 years is like seeing an old friend in a new light and a smart suit. It is the case that the album has something quintessentially eighties about it and if you examine the "visual look" of the band in the accompanying live concerts its all high turned up collars, rolled up sleeves and those ridiculous long coats that passed for high fashion at the time. And yet unlike much of the music of that period it does transcend the decades and is a five star product. Everyone of course remembers "Sledgehammer" and its ubiquitous music video not least Gabriel' s "plastic" face distortions and two oven-ready chickens, headless and featherless, dancing along to the synthesized flute solo in the middle of the song. It was one of the most played videos on MTV of all time and the song remains a pop classic. Equally the cynicism of "Big Time" with its allusions to the eighties greed and corporations perfectly captured a cultural mood of avarice not least the great verse "my parties all have big names/and I greet them with the widest smile/tell them how my life is one big adventure/and always they're amazed". Opener "Red Rain" is packed full of drama and a brilliant husky Gabriel vocal which has made it such a staple of his live shows. While you can still see John Cusack holding that huge beat box above his head in the Cameron Crowe film "Say Anything" outside of Iona Skye's bedroom and blaring out the stirring "In your eyes". It was completely soppy but very endearing all the same. There is not much more to say about the duet with Kate Bush "Dont give up" which now seems to soundtrack every heroes video although with the passage of time it is the slightly less popular songs on the album like the superb "Mercy Street" possibly his finest moment and wonderfully quirky "This is the picture" with Laurie Anderson which probably stand up best for a new audience. Add to that the supporting cast list of premier musicians including bassist Tony Levin, guitarist David Rhodes, and drummer Manu Katche, an A-list of collaborators Kate Bush, Nile Rodgers, Stewart Copeland, Youssou N'Dour, Laurie Anderson and others. In addition "So" sees the some of the early work of rocks greatest and most innovative producers Daniel Lanois who later added the mixing desk gold dust to artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris and the Neville Brothers. As for the sound its an album that because of its great production values sounded pristine, crisp and well ahead of its time in 1986. Today it sounds even better. But, and its a very large BUT, this is now the fourth remaster of "So" that this reviewer is aware of and do you really want to fork out more money if you already have a previous iteration? Indeed Gabriel's engineer Richard Chappell admits on his website that "In planning the 25th anniversary release of `So' Peter was very keen to go back to original sonic `vision' for the album".....(the) 2012 version is as true to the original as possible, but with the use of improved technology of today's converters, it is a genuinely superior sound". Who are we as mere non studio mortals to question this yet one would hope that "So" which has been subject to so much tinkering over the years is now the finished product?

The 3 discs set out here are good value for money in download terms including an unreleased live album taken from a 1997 stadium performance in Athens, Greece, at the conclusion of the "So" tour. If you don't own a live Gabriel set its all fine and dandy, but if you already own 1994's glorious double concert album "Secret World Live" then what you get are different takes on songs such as "Solsbury Hill", "Dont give up" etc". Again nothing wrong with this but aren't there some hidden gems unreleased in the "So" vaults to be unearthed, some re-mixes to be constructed or alternate takes hanging around on dusty tapes which can highlight the evolution of these great songs? In the last analysis with this 25th anniversary edition of "So" we can but hope that Gabriel has finally reached a conclusion in the endless reinventing of his back catalogue which has tended to dominate his recording output over recent years. Frankly it would be very nice to hear some new material. Let us remember that his last album was 2011's "New Blood" which gave some of the songs on "So" a lush and stirring orchestral re-rub which was followed by a live version of many of the same songs in this years "Live Blood". Prior to that was "Scratch my back" an album of cover versions. Peter Gabriel is one of the most intriguing and heavyweight British musicians of the past decades but he needs to turn his gaze firmly to the future and re-examine the meaning of the word "original". If you don't own "So" then get this since its essential, the concert alternatively is a luxury.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So, 13 Feb 2008
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: So (Audio CD)
As other reviewers have noted 'So' is one of the best places to start with Peter Gabriels work. It has some astounding music on it. 'Red rain' is powerful and evocative, 'Don't Give Up' is plaintive and haunting, 'Sledgehammer' is pure unadulterated exuberance, 'Mercy Street' is beautifully melancholic and 'In Your Eyes' has brilliant lyrics and a great feel. The other tracks are just as good and the album sits together as a whole perfectly. It was very much of it's time and yet manages to stand up against Gabriels complete body of work, both prior and since. This is an excellent album and highly recommended for any music collection. Well worth a try.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top quality gabriel, 4 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: So (Audio CD)
This is probably the best Peter Gabriel album since gabriel 4. I'm oh so jealous of his fantastic vocals, and the drumming by stuart copeland(police) and manu katche is fantastic, A bit more accessable than US and definately worth buying if you like Kate Bush as don't give up is a fantastic track. My only slight niggle is that the last track written with laurie anderson is quite awful. Buy it now!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tour-de-force, 24 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: So (Audio CD)
Great stuff. Nearly every song's a winner. A wonderful mix of innovative studio technology and world music rythms. 'Red Rain' is a great opening for any album: 'stop what you are doing and pay attention'. Elsewhere 'In Your Eyes' is heart-breaking; 'We Do What We're Told' wasted and chilling; 'Mercy Street' brimming with haunted lyricism and compassion. Even 'Sledgehammer' remains a big, porky blast, and 'Big Time' cuts sharp and funky. Imaginative. Intelligent. One of he albums of the 80's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What do you mean you've never heard it??, 4 April 2005
By 
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This review is from: So [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Almost 30 years ago Peter Gabriel decided Genesis were not the future (like garlic bread) and took the bold decision to go solo. After 4 albums all called Peter Gabriel Peter bought a vowel and a consonant and called his 5th album.. So. So - whats it like? It's superb is what its like! It contains 4 "singles" - Sledgehammer, Big Time, Red Rain and the Kate Bush duet Don't Give Up, and 5 other tracks. Its by no means especially "easy" listening, and to enjoy it most would be to block off anything else and turn up your headphones and immerse yourself in the lush instrumentation and precise production. All throughout the album is a marked progressive step up from the patchy-but-misunderstood "4" (or Security in the US), lessons learned and samplers being put to their proper use! Even Laurie Anderson's presence is well judged and is a positive step, and if you have never heard the stick bass maestro Tony Levin at work - correct that now! All in all an excellent buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So?, 31 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: So (25th Anniversary Remaster) (MP3 Download)
Perfect mix of art and commercialism. Some very hummable tunes too! He never quite got the mix as right again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific Album., 18 Nov 2013
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This review is from: So (Audio CD)
I am not an expert on Pete Gabriel, but I do love this old album.
Listened to it recently and rediscovered its depth. There is a real section of music herein, from light rock
as you would expect from the Genesis man- to ballads and even spiritual-type sounding music.
The music is neither masculine nor feminine in nature; but does speak to everyone. And the Kate
Bush contribution is noteworthy as her eclectic best. It is pure emotion, but it will lift you up.
Enjoy.
P.S. Sledghammer is just one bit of it. Everyone knows the video and the song.
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